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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women as diviners and as Christian converts in rural South Africa
Author:Redding, SeanISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic term:South Africa
religious conversion
social history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853716000086
Abstract:This article argues that rural South African women's importance as spiritual actors in the period from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries stemmed from their ability to embrace hybrid spiritual identities that corresponded closely to the lived reality of African rural life, and that by embracing those identities, women expanded their roles as social healers. Professing a belief in Christianity did not prevent individuals from practicing as diviners, nor did it prevent Christians from consulting diviners to determine the causes of death or misfortune. Similarly, young women who converted to Christianity often maintained close ties to non-Christian families and bridged spiritual lives on the mission stations with life in their families. Over this time period, women became cultural mediators who borrowed, adopted, and combined spiritual beliefs to provide more complete answers to problems faced by rural African families in South Africa. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]